Tuesday, September 30, 2014

B5 cast suggestions

This won't mean much to those outside the B5 fan base, but J. Michael Straczynski is working on rebooting Babylon 5 as a film. He is working on the script and has stated that while none of the actors from the series will return, cameos are not out of the realm of possibility. So if the new B5 goes into production, who would be cast? As often happens to me, my mind starts toying with the possibilities, sometimes late into the night whether I like it or not when I would rather be sleeping. It's an interesting question. Another interesting question is which of the characters will make it to the reboot? Who would you cast? It's a tough call for me. Although B5 was never as huge a franchise as Star Trek, for it's fans, the characters and the actors who brought them to life are iconic. Much like how many of us feel about Trek. But as the new Trek film franchise reboot showed us, you can do justice to the characters without having a new cast impersonate the original cast.

There is a temptation to switch up race and gender because why not? It worked very well for the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. But my brain worked hard enough trying to put the list together as it is. And maybe I'm such a fan of the series it's hard for me to fathom these characters looking too different from the originals. But these are just suggestions. And by no means will I go nerd rage if Straczynski decides to go in different directions.

It goes without saying that the original cast will always be these characters to me. That being said here are my selections:

Jeffrey Sinclair - Clifton Collins Jr.
Originally Michael O'Hare. O'Hare was great. Unfortunately he had medical issues that forced him to voluntarily leave the show rather then compromise the production schedule. Clifton Collins Jr. has been in a lot of films, mostly in the supporting cast. But he is a terrific actor that I think could anchor a series.

John Sheridan - James Van Der Beek
Originally Bruce Boxleitner. Sheridan was the commander for three seasons and eventually became president of a new Interstellar Alliance. And yes, the Beek, the Dawson, etc. But seriously though, I think James Van Der Beek could pull this off.

Susan Ivanova - Eliza Dushku
Originally Claudia Christian. Ivanova was funny, serious, and bad ass. She is "the right hand of vengeance," "death incarnate," and "God sent her." She is probably my favorite female sci-fi character and definitely one of my favorite characters in general. Eliza Dushku would nail this role.

Michael Garabaldi - Joshua Jackson
Originally Jerry Doyle. Garabaldi was not the stereotypical military officer and he could work a little shady when he needed to be. Why Joshua Jackson? One word, Fringe. And no, a reunion of the Creek was not intended. Would be funny though.

Stephen Franklin - Noel Clarke
Originally Richard Biggs. Noel Clarke might not be too familiar to a U.S. audience unless your a Doctor Who fan. He also had a cameo in Star Trek: Into Darkness. He would be great as Doctor Franklin, a character who was idealistic, strong willed, and not afraid to take risks to care for his patents.

Delenn - Anna Torv
Originally Mira Furlan. Delenn is graceful, wise, brave, and has a strong spirit. She can also be very intimidating when she needs to be. Another instance where Fringe is the answer. Anna Torv would do this character justice.

Lennier - Anton Yelchin
Originally Bill Mummy. Lennier is an innocent who is noble and loyal. Life hardens him and he stumbles, hard. But is still a good person. Anton Yelchin could easily fill this role.

Londo Molari - Ricky Gervais
Originally Peter Jurasik. Okay, this is an outside the box choice here. But to me, not really. Londo had the air of regality, but was equally at home in a bar, gambling, and enjoying some of the finer vices life has to offer. He was also greatly torn by tradition and doing the right thing. Ricky Gervais has the acting caliber and humor to be great in this role. Plus, he would look stunning in purple.

Vir Coto - James Corden
Originally Stephen Furst. Vir is another innocent. He is constantly trying to cope with the traditions and bigotry of his people while being a loyal and trying to do the right thing. I first saw James Corden on a BBC series, Gavin and Stacy. He's funny. But his turn of Doctor Who is what makes me think he is the next Vir.

G’Kar - Benedict Cumberbatch
Originally Andreas Katsulas. Seriously though, no one could ever replicate what Andreas did in this role. The wisdom, anger, hope, regret, and voice of G'Kar... Katsulas was awesome. Benedict Cumberbatch is the only person who I think could match the original incarnation of this character.

Talia Winters - Dichen Lachman
Originally Andrea Thompson. Talia was confident and sometimes bordering on arrogance. But her character was also very vulnerable. Especially when the reality of the Psy Corps (the Government organization all psychics are required to join and register with) came crashing down on her. Dichen Lachman has been great showing both strength and vulnerability in her roles.

Lyta Alexander - Felicia Day
Originally Patricia Tallman. The psychic rebel who would literally become a psychic nuke. Felicia Day has done some good work in sci-fi/fantasy franchises (including her own, The Guild). She has the ability to play both the serious and humorous sides of Lyta.

Marcus Cole - Enver Gjokaj
Originally Jason Carter. Marcus is a smart ass who hides the pain of his past with humor. A lot of these charters do actually. Anyway, Enver Gjokaj will be familiar to you if you are a fan of Dollhouse. That series proved his acting range is pretty broad. He can bring both the silly, serious, and wise sides of Marcus to the screen.

Elizabeth Lochley - Maria Bello
Originally Tracey Scoggins. Lochley became the B5 commander after Sheridan. She was no nonsense and Maria Bello can be great with this character. Her performance in her short lived (and canceled too soon) police drama, Prime Suspect makes me believe she can be Lochley.

Zack Allen - John Cho
Originally Jeff Conway. Zack was the every man who was just trying to do his job. He just got stationed in a place that was the nexus for interstellar war and political conflict. More could have been done with this character, but there were already a lot of characters to deal with. John Cho could do well expanding on this character.

Alfred Bester - Simon Pegg
Originally Walter Koenig. Bester was a great villain. Prejudice against non-psychics, scheming, and very intelligent. Simon Pegg has done well in comedy, but I think he could do equally well playing a darker character.

Morden - Sam Witwer
Originally Ed Wasser. B5's ambassador for the dark side, so to speak. Morden was smooth and sinister. Sam Witwer has been playing smooth and sinister for a few years now as a vampire.

 It's no coincidence that my list has some Trek pedigree. There was some decent crossover with B5 and Trek actors. When (and hopefully it's a when instead of an if) the next incarnation of Babylon 5 happens I'm pretty sure Straczynski will do a good job at putting together a cast. As I said earlier, no matter what form the cast takes, I'll be happy. Now all we need is for the series to air on US television again. Also, it would be nice if anyone would throw out their own suggestions. I'm fairly certain that there are other people out there that could do these roles that I'm either forgetting about or have not hear of.

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